I have found again and again that I can learn a lot by reading good books, but I can learn far more by reading good books and then discussing those books with other people who’ve read them.
I’d love to have you read with me this summer and then get together here and there and discuss what we’ve read, or even e-mail about what we’ve read if you’re not in the area. If you’re interested, here’s what I’m planning on reading in June (and likely part of July if I get bogged down). Pick one (or all) of them and let me know if you want to grab lunch or coffee:
After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters, by N.T. Wright
Wright is probably my favorite author right now. Not because I always agree with him. In fact one of the reasons I like him so much is that I agree with him enough to be hugely helped and encouraged by his thinking, and I disagree with him enough that it sparks me to think creatively and from new perspectives on worn-out issues. I suspect After You Believe will bring more of the same. On the one hand: Haven’t we thought about how to live Christianly enough? On the other hand, I suspect Wright will make me think about it in fresh and thought-provoking ways.
To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World, by James Davidson Hunter
Are Christians supposed to change the world? Are we supposed to engage with culture? Should we expect to transform culture? Or is this world going to Hell in a handbasket and therefore trying to improve anything is like polishing the brass on a sinking ship? Hunter, a University of Virginia professor, promises to move past the worn-out and amazingly ineffective “vote for Christians and the world will become more Christian” model of world change, and to address these questions in fresh ways.
In Search of God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer That Changed the World, by Stephen Mansfield
As the subtitle suggests, this book (and the story behind it) may be a good test case for Hunter’s book. Guinness was an incredibly impactful force for good in Europe and stands as one of the most powerful (if little known) testimonies to the amazing good that companies can do. I’d love to read this book with some business men, or anyone who want to think through how to use their work for good. And we should probably get together at a pub. Probably at Claddagh. I don’t think you can discuss a book about Guinness over a cup of coffee. That’s probably not allowed.